Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics
Planning and Control Analyst
In 2009, Blake Hale graduated college and faced one of the worst job markets in the nation’s history, particularly in field where he graduated. Undeterred by the bad economy, Hale put his dreams of being an investment banker on hold and made gainful employment his priority instead of searching for years for his dream job. Not long after graduation, Hale began working in the oil and gas industry as a planning and control analyst.
Why did you choose your major?
My father became an investment banker after he graduated college, and then went on to run his own company while I was growing up. I wanted to pursue the same style of work. Economics and the background of how and why business operates have always interested me. I had exposure to it through my dad before I made the decision to major in finance and economics, so I knew what it entailed, and I felt it was the best match for my personality and strengths .
What did you like/dislike most about it?
I enjoyed the math, model building, and planning aspects the most. It allowed you to get creative, even though it may not seem that way, because it blends the math required for accounting with the creativity of other business disciplines like entrepreneurialism, marketing, and management. There were also a lot of very interesting classes available that provided real-world value like sports economics, government policy, and entrepreneurship, to name a few.
Do you work in the field of your major?
Yes, I am currently a planning and control analyst for a large oil and gas company. During my job search, I specifically looked for jobs in this field. I felt like this path made sense, and that I can go in a lot of different directions in business from here.
How has choosing your major impacted your career?
I am not far along enough in my career to truly notice a difference. Unfortunately, I graduated in the middle of the financial crisis. The job market suffered from the fallout of the large financial institutions. This pushed me away from investment banking, but fortunately I found a position in the oil and gas industry, which seems to be more stable. Hopefully in the next year I can progress out of an entry-level position and have a better handle on my roles in the industry.
What skills from your major do you still use?
Aside from the technical skills like learning Excel, model building, and constructing financial statements, I learned a lot about patience and time management. The logic and principles used in finance and economics aren’t easily memorized. They take time to understand and force you to really spend a lot of time learning it, both in and out of school.
What advice would you give future students hoping to pursue a math major?
Take time to understand what you are working on, don’t just work for an answer. In finance, some of the most important things are found in the processes.